The government’s third Health Profile of England has shown that rising rates of diabetes, child obesity and Chlamydia are the biggest threats to the nation’s wellbeing.
A general improvement in health outcome and increased life expectancy were marred by diabetes and obesity trends, according to the Department of Health document.
A doubling in Chlamydia diagnosis rates was down to increased testing and improved sensitivity of diagnostic tests.
According to the figures, 15.4% of children are obese, an increase from 13.8% five years ago.
Dr Tammy Boyce, the King’s Fund’s Research Fellow in public health, said: ‘Tackling obesity is a long-term challenge and even effective local programmes will not deliver big improvements in national figures right away. The government and the NHS must continue to focus their efforts on supporting people to change their engrained bad behaviours and maintain healthier lifestyles.
‘Increases in exercise rates and consumption of fruit and vegetables are encouraging but lack of progress in reducing childhood obesity is a concern as unhealthy habits are learnt at a young age.
‘It is crucial not to view problems like teenage pregnancy and rates of sexually transmitted disease in isolation from other policy. Improvements in both these areas are fundamental in reducing health inequalities and it’s important to be aware of how different government health strategies can, and should, support each other.’
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